Category: Government Relations

Ontario’s Employers Caution Government on Changing Workplaces Review: “You Can’t Legislate Prosperity”

Keep Ontario Working Group of Leading Ontario Employers Urge Government to Proceed with Evidence-Based Policy Modernization Through the Changing Workplace Review Keep Ontario Working (KOW), a group of Ontario’s leading employers, industry and sector associations submitted its final set of recommendations to the Special Advisors of the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR). While the group acknowledges that work is changing and that labour and employment legislation should be modernized, they caution that employers and employees alike cannot risk public policy changes that would place an unintended burden on them. “The Changing Workplaces Review interim report of the Special Advisors is a large document that contains hundreds of options to the legislation that guides Ontario’s workplaces. The options laid out and that are presently being considered by the Special Advisors will impact nearly every aspect of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as the ability of Ontario businesses to create jobs and grow the economy” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.” In light of these concerns, the Keep Ontario Working group has developed several key policy options in their submission calling for evidence-based workplace modernization, with a particular focus of caution in the following areas: Education and Enforcement, Scheduling Provisions, Labour Certification Rules, Sector Exemptions, Joint/Common Employers, Sectoral Bargaining, and Minimum Standards. As part of their submission, the Keep Ontario Working group commissioned Philip Cross, Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and former Chief Economic Analyst at Statistics Canada, to analyze the issue of precarity. Cross’ analysis indicates that by several metrics, the concern around precariousness is overstated. For example, part-time employment in Ontario and Canada shrank in 2015 as compared to 25 years ago. Data also indicates that at no time in Ontario’s recent history have employees in this province enjoyed such stable employment; the average employee in Ontario has worked for the same employer for a record 106.3 months (or nearly 9 years). Currently there is insufficient data to support major reforms to labour legislation. The group has called on government to strengthen their data by developing and releasing a new regional survey. This type of data would help to identify the real gaps existing in employment legislation. The group cautions government against making sweeping amendments to legislation without sufficient statistical and economic data as it could result in unintended consequences and negatively impact the ability of Ontario’s businesses to create jobs and grow the economy. “We support the Government’s efforts to address the challenge of precarious work, but we think it’s critical that there be a robust, evidence-based, and common understanding of who Ontario’s precarious workers are and how we can best help them” stated John Sawyer. “Our goal as part of the Keep Ontario Working Group is to increase employee experience and their ability to realize more income, without introducing new regulatory burdens that will compromise the ability of Ontario employers to create jobs and grow the economy” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber. “What we do want is for the government to enhance enforcement of the existing legislation so that those employers who abuse their employees are held to their responsibilities under the existing legislation.” Read the full report: Reform That Works For more information on the Keep Ontario Working initiative, visit For employers who wish to provide their input to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, please contact Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at or at (905) 464-0659.   About “Keep Ontario Working” Keep Ontario Working is an initiative of the leading employer and sector associations in the province, who are working together to motivate employers and employees alike to take a more active interest in the Changing Workplaces Review. Our goal is to ensure that we are improving legislation to support workers’ rights, create jobs and grow the economy. Members of the initiative include: o   Ontario Chamber of Commerce o   Canadian Franchise Association o   Restaurants Canada o   Retail Council of Canada o   Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association o   Food & Beverage Ontario o   Ontario Forest Industries Association o   Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services, o   National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses o   Other employers and employer groups.

Oakville Chamber Advocacy Survey Finds Rising Costs the most significant factor impacting business and industry

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce released the results of its 2016 advocacy survey.  Rising costs are impacting local businesses and congestion continues to be an obstacle for success. The survey represents a broad sector of business including big, medium and small representing approximately 20,000 jobs. Here is a snapshot of the survey results: Cost of doing business
  • Rising costs are the most significant factor impacting business and industry
  • 83% believe that energy costs are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
  • 78% believe that WSIB rates are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
  • 82% agree that the Cap and Trade plan should be delayed until its impact on business is fully understood
  • 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business
  • The top 3 infrastructure priorities are transportation related being:
    • Local roads and bridges
    • Public parking
    • Transit
Planning and Development- local issues
  • Almost 70% believe that regulations are unreasonable and excessive
  • 77% are supportive of a modest increase in density in the Kerr Street, Bronte and Oakville business district
  • A slim majority, felt local government in Oakville is supportive and sensitive to the needs of business
Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce commented “it is important for the Chamber to hear from our members as to the issues that are impacting Oakville businesses so that we can effectively advocate on their behalf.  It is clear from the results that businesses continue to feel tapped and overburdened with regulation. Investment in local roads and bridges, public parking and transit were identified as the top 3 infrastructure priorities.  This is timely feedback for Town Council as they deliberate on how to allocate the infrastructure money committed by senior levels of government.”

Highlights from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce attended the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past September in Regina Saskatchewan. The Canadian Chamber’s Annual General Meeting focuses on the latest issues important to the Canadian business community and brings together Chambers of Commerce from across Canada to find solutions to address the challenges that Canadian businesses face. The Canadian Chamber network works to set its policy agenda for the upcoming year during its annual general meeting.  Resolutions submitted this year covered a broad range of topics that were successfully endorsed by delegates on issues such as Employment Insurance (EI) Reform, Bridging the Broadband Gap, Pension Reform, Enabling More Canadian Firms to Scale Up, Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry and the Increase of GST/HST Filing Threshold. These issues are important to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Canada who represent 200,000 Canadian businesses. These resolutions are now policy positions of the Canadian Chamber and its members and will be pursued with the federal government over the coming months. The Oakville Chamber will continue to support the Canadian Chamber’s efforts and these resolutions in its daily operations to help ensure that Oakville continues to maintain a competitive businesses climate, and maximizes the potential of its business community and membership.